Jones Valley Teaching Farm (JVTF) and the Birmingham City Schools in the Woodlawn Innovation Network have successfully partnered to bring new learning opportunities to students. What began as a simple community garden is now a series of standards-driven learning experiences jointly developed and delivered by teachers and JVTF staff. The partnership touches every school in a feeder pattern:
Woodlawn High School with its Early College Academy of Arts & Environmental Science and its Early College Academy of Business & Finance
For example, students at Avondale Elementary School run the Avondale Farmer’s Market Club. One student describes the club as a group of fifth graders who are entrepreneurs selling vegetables and fruits, learning about agriculture and business. He describes a social entrepreneur as “a person that is trying to help the community while making profit, so it’s a social enterprise.”
A JVTF staff person summed up her partnership with Birmingham schools this way: “Because there are times we will be viewed as outsiders in the communities where we work, we must build a culture of trust around our mission and the quality of our work. By being in the school every day, we can demonstrate to the teachers and parents that we are committed to a meaningful, genuine relationship with their school community.”
This partnership between Jones Valley Teaching Farm and Birmingham City Schools has become a model for others locally, throughout the state and at the national level.